South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska was eroded by massive south and/or southeast oriented flood flow, which originally flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Headward erosion of present day valleys captured the south-oriented flood flow in an identifiable sequence and diverted flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. The east-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek valley eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded east- and southeast-oriented Republican River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Southeast and south-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley. Flood waters to what were then actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys were beheaded by headward erosion of the northeast and east oriented South Platte River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Platte River valley. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented North Platte River valley beheaded all south and southeast-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded South Platte River valley.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is one of a series of essays describing similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored deep glacial erosion paradigm, which is fundamentally different from most commonly accepted North American glacial history interpretations. Project essays are listed on the sidebar category list under their appropriate Missouri River tributary drainage basin, Missouri River segment drainage basin (by state), and/or state in which the Missouri River drainage basin is located.                    

Introduction:

  • The purpose of this essay is to use topographic map interpretation methods to explore South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska, USA. Map interpretation methods can be used to unravel many geomorphic events leading up to formation of present-day drainage routes and development of other landform features. While each detailed topographic map feature provides detailed evidence to be explained, the solution must be consistent with explanations for adjacent area map evidence as well as solutions to big picture map evidence puzzles. I invite readers to improve upon my solutions and/or to propose alternate solutions that better explain evidence and are also consistent with adjacent map area and big picture evidence. Readers may do so either by making comments here or by writing and publishing their own essays and then by leaving a link to those essays in a comment here.
  • This essay is also exploring a new geomorphology paradigm in which erosional landforms are interpreted as evidence left by immense glacial melt water floods. Implied in that interpretation is the immense floods were derived from a thick North American ice sheet that created a deep “hole” in the North American continent and also melted fast. The previously unexplored paradigm being tested in this and other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays is a thick North American ice sheet, comparable in thickness to the Antarctic ice sheet, occupied the North American region usually recognized to have been glaciated, and through its weight and erosive actions created a deep North American “hole”. The southwestern rim of that deep “hole” is today preserved in the high Rocky Mountains. The ice sheet through its weight and deep erosion (and perhaps deposition along major south-oriented melt water flow routes) caused significant crustal warping and tectonic change, through its action of melting fast produced immense floods that flowed across the continent, and through its action of melting fast systematically opened up space in the ice sheet created “hole” so headward erosion of newly developed north-oriented drainage systems captured immense south-oriented melt water floods and diverted the floods north into space the ice sheet had once occupied.
  • If this previously unexplored paradigm is correct the geographic region explored by this essay should contain evidence of immense floods that were captured by headward erosion of new valley systems so as to cause the floods to flow in a different direction. Ability of this previously unexplored paradigm to explain South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm. This essay is included in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essay collection.

South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area location map (select and click on maps to enlarge). National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 1 provides a South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska location map. Nebraska occupies much of the figure 1 map area. Colorado is the state in the figure 1 southwest quadrant located south of the Nebraska Panhandle. Kansas is the state south of Nebraska and east of Colorado. The South Platte River flows from the Fort Morgan, Colorado area in a northeast direction to the Colorado northeast corner and then flows in an east-northeast and east direction to North Platte, Nebraska. At North Platte the South Platte River joins the southeast-oriented North Platte River to form the southeast-oriented Platte River, which flows to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Platte River turns to flow in a northeast direction before turning to flow south and east to join the south-southeast-oriented Missouri River. The Republican River flows into the Nebraska southwest corner and then flows in an east-northeast direction to Culbertson, McCook, Holbrook, and Arapahoe before turning to flow in an east-southeast and east direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Republican River turns to flow in a southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River, which flows to meet the south-southeast oriented Missouri River at Kansas City, Missouri. At Kansas City the Missouri River changes direction and flows in a generally east direction across Missouri to join the south-oriented Mississippi River at Saint Louis, Missouri. Frenchman Creek is southeast-oriented Republican River tributary originating near Fleming, Colorado (located in northeast Colorado near the South Platte River) and flowing to Holyoke, Colorado and Champion, Wauneta, Hamlet, and Palisade, Nebraska before joining the Republican River near Culbertson, Nebraska. Note several southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributaries, which also originate near the northeast-oriented South Platte River valley. Red Willow Creek is the labeled southeast-oriented Republican River tributary located east of Frenchman Creek. The unlabeled southeast-oriented Republican River tributary between Frenchman Creek and Red Willow Creek is Blackwood Creek.

The Red Willow Creek-Blackwood Creek drainage divide area essay describes a nearby drainage divide and can be found Republican River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project collection essays published on this website collectively have presented significant evidence for massive south-oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. These floods were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. Prior to development of present day drainage routes flood waters may have deposited significant quantities of sediments in western Nebraska and elsewhere. Present day Nebraska and Kansas drainage routes were established as valleys eroded headward into region to capture the south-oriented flood flow and to divert the flood waters east to the Mississippi River valley. In southwest Nebraska headward erosion of the Republican River valley from what was then the newly eroded east-oriented Kansas River valley was the first valley to capture the south-oriented flood flow. South-southeast and southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Republican River to capture the south-oriented flood flow and to move the flood waters more efficiently to the newly eroded Republican River valley. Headward erosion of the northeast and east oriented South Platte River valley from what was then the newly eroded Platte River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what were then the actively eroding southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valleys.

South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 2 provides a somewhat more detailed location map for the South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area in Keith, Perkins, and Chase Counties, Nebraska. Deuel, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Chase, and Hayes are Nebraska county names and the county boundaries are shown. Sedgwick and Phillips are Colorado county names. North Platte, Nebraska is the city located in the figure 2 northeast corner area. The South Platte River flows in a northeast direction across Sedgwick County and into the Deuel County southeast corner before flowing in an east-northeast and east direction across Keith County and into Lincoln County to join the east-southeast oriented North Platte River at North Platte. Note how the South Platte River has southeast-oriented tributaries from the north and west, but has virtually no tributaries from the south. Frenchman Creek originates west of the figure 2 west edge and flows to Holyoke in Phillips County before entering Nebraska and flowing in an east-southeast direction across Chase County and the Hayes County southwest corner. Major Frenchman Creek tributaries include south-southeast oriented Stinking Water Creek, which originates in north central Perkins County and which joins Frenchman Creek in southern Hayes County; southeast-oriented Spring Creek, which originates in Sedgwick County (near the South Platte River) and flows across the Perkins County southwest corner and joins Stinking Water Creek in eastern Chase County; and Sand Draw, which originates west of the figure 2 west edge and which flows across Phillips County into northwest Chase County and which joins Frenchman Creek near Champion in south central Chase County.  Blackwood Creek is the south-southeast-oriented stream east of Frenchman Creek originating near Grainton in southeast Perkins County and flowing across Hayes County. East and north of Blackwood Creek is southeast and south-southeast oriented Red Willow Creek, which originates in northeast Perkins County and flows across the Lincoln County southwest corner and then to the figure 2 southeast corner area. Frenchman Creek, Blackwood Creek, and Red Willow Creek are all Republican River tributaries, which join the east-oriented Republican River south and east of the figure 1 southeast corner. Note how Republican River tributaries, including the Frenchman Creek tributaries, are southeast-oriented and originate near the South Platte River valley location. This evidence and the lack of South Platte River tributaries from the south provides evidence the South Platte River valley eroded headward across south- and/or southeast-oriented flood flow, which had been flowing to what were then actively eroding Republican River tributary valleys. Intermittent drainage routes and large areas without identifiable drainage routes suggest the presence of sandy surface materials, which may have been flood transported sediments deposited in the region prior to headward erosion of present day drainage routes. If so, eolian activity may have since obscured some of the flood eroded valley routes.

South Platte River valley west of Ogallala, Nebraska

Figure 3: South Platte River valley west of Ogallala, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the South Platte River valley in southwest Keith County and west of Ogallala, Nebraska. Ogallala is the town located near the figure 3 northeast corner. Brule is the smaller town located north of the figure 3 center. The South Platte River flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 3 west center edge to Brule, Ogallala, and the figure 3 east edge (northeast corner area). The Western Canal located south of the South Platte River is an irrigation canal. Note South Platte River southeast-oriented tributaries from the north and how some of these tributaries, including Chase and Brule Canyons, have eroded significant southeast-oriented valleys. Also note how South Platte River tributaries from the south are short and not as well-developed, but are generally oriented in a north-northwest direction and enter the South Platte River valley as barbed tributaries. The region south of where the north and north-northwest oriented South Platte River originate the figure 3 map area appears to lack evidence of surface drainage routes. This region lacking surface drainage routes may be underlain by sandy materials, which may have originally been flood deposited sediments. However, topographic map evidence alone is not adequate to determine underlying rock composition and additional evidence is needed to confirm this suggestion. Figure 3 drainage history determinable from topographic map evidence begins with southeast and/or south-southeast oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 3 map area. At that time there was no South Platte River valley nor did any of the present day drainage routes north of the figure 3 map area exist. Flood waters at that time were probably flowing to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley and its actively eroding southeast-oriented tributary valleys, including the Frenchman Creek valley and tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented South Platte River valley then captured the southeast and/or south-southeast oriented flood flow and southeast-oriented tributary valleys began to erode headward from the newly eroded South Platte River valley, perhaps along captured southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion were then actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of  beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow in a north direction to the newly eroded and deep South Platte River valley. This reversal of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south- and/or southeast-oriented flood flow channels was responsible for eroding the north-northwest oriented South Platte River tributary valleys.

South Platte River valley east of Ogallala, Nebraska

Figure 4: South Platte River valley east of Ogallala, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the South Platte River valley east of Ogallala, Nebraska and east of the figure 3 map area (and includes overlap areas with figure 3). Ogallala is the town located in the figure 4 northwest corner. Roscoe is the small town located east of Ogallala and just west of the figure 4 north center edge area. The east-oriented South Platte River is located near the figure 4 north edge. Not seen in figure 4 is the east-southeast oriented North Platte River, which is located just north of the figure 4 map area. Figure 4a below illustrates the North Platte River-South Platte River drainage divide area north of Ogallala. The North and South Platte River valleys merge near Sutherland, which is east of the figure 4 map area (see figure 2), although the two rivers do not merge until reaching North Platte, which is located considerably further east. Note how in figure 4 South Platte River tributaries from the south are generally short and north or north-northwest oriented. The one exception is Roscoe Draw, which originates in the figure 4 south center area as a southeast-oriented stream and then turns to flow in a north direction to the east-oriented South Platte River. Note northwest-oriented Roscoe Draw tributaries. The north-oriented Roscoe Draw valley probably originated as reversed flood flow on a beheaded south-oriented flood flow channel, although it eroded headward (or south) to capture yet to be beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow moving west of what was then the actively eroding South Platte River valley head. The southeast-oriented Roscoe Draw headwaters valley originated as a southeast-oriented flood flow channel captured by headward erosion of reversed flood flow on the north-oriented Roscoe Draw alignment. The northwest-oriented Roscoe Draw tributary valleys were eroded by reversed flood flow on northwest ends of southeast-oriented flood flow channels beheaded by the Roscoe Draw valley headward erosion. Note in figure 4a how tributaries from the north to the east-oriented South Platte River valley are southeast-oriented while tributaries from the south to the east-southeast oriented North Platte River valley are northwest-oriented. The South Platte River valley eroded headward across the figure 4a map area first to capture the southeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the North Platte River valley followed very soon thereafter and beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels to the newly eroded South Platte River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented North Platte River tributary valleys.

Figure 4a: North Platte River-South Platte River drainage divide area near Ogallala, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Roscoe Draw-Stinking Water Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Roscoe Draw-Stinking Water Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 5 illustrates the Roscoe Draw-Stinking Water Creek drainage divide area south and east of the figure 4 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 4. Southeast and north oriented Roscoe Draw headwaters are located in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. Note northwest oriented tributaries to the north oriented Roscoe Draw segment. North of figure 5 as seen in figure 4 Roscoe Draw joins the east oriented South Platte River. Madrid, Nebraska is the town located along the figure 5 south edge south of Roscoe Draw. Elsie is the town located along the figure 5 south edge east of Madrid. Stinking Water Creek is located in the figure 5 southwest quadrant and flows to the figure 5 south edge near Madrid. South of figure 5 Stinking Water Creek flows in a southeast direction to join east-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek, which in turn joins the east and southeast oriented Republican River. Red Willow Creek originates near the figure 5 center and flows in a southeast and east-southeast direction to the figure 5 east edge. East and south of figure 5 Red Willow Creek flows in a southeast direction to join the east- and southeast-oriented Republican River. Note how the Red Willow Creek headwaters are aligned with northwest oriented Roscoe Draw tributaries, suggesting headward erosion of the north-oriented Roscoe Draw valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving water to what was then the actively eroding Red Willow Creek valley. Note how north of Elsie Red Willow Creek has a northwest and northeast-oriented tributary. That tributary valley formed as the Red Willow Creek valley eroded headward probably along what was a southeast-oriented flood flow channel. The northeast-oriented tributary valley segment eroded headward from the newly eroded Red Willow Creek valley to capture southeast-oriented flood flow moving parallel to southeast-oriented Red Willow Creek flood flow channel. The northwest-oriented tributary valley segment was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the northwest end of one of those beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels. The figure 5 map area includes evidence of intermittent streams and surface streams which disappear. Most likely the region is underlain by flood deposited sandy sediments, which may have since been moved by wind activity. Some of the northwest-southeast oriented hills may be related to wind deposited and eroded sediments, although at least some of the northwest-southeast oriented streamlined landscape features are the result of flood erosion.

Sand Draw-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Sand Draw-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 6 illustrates the Sand Draw-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area and there is a significant gap between figure 3 and figure 6. Imperial, Nebraska is the town located in the figure 6 east center edge area. Frenchman Creek flows in a southeast, east, and southeast direction from the figure 6 west center edge to the figure 6 southeast corner. Sand Draw drains from the figure 6 northwest corner in an east-southeast, southeast, and south-southeast direction to join Frenchman Creek in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. The name Sand Draw implies the region is underlain with sandy sediments. It is possible the sandy sediments originated as flood deposits, which perhaps have been rearranged somewhat by more recent wind activity. The small town located near where Sand Draw joins Frenchman Creek is Champion. The southeast-oriented stream crossing the figure 6 northeast corner is Spring Creek, which east of the figure 6 map area joins Stinking Water Creek to flow in a southeast direction to join Frenchman Creek, which in turn joins the east- and southeast-oriented Republican River. Note how Frenchman Creek has several short southeast-oriented tributaries west of Sand Draw. Figure 6 map area drainage history probably originated with flood water moving across the entire figure 6 map area in a south or southeast direction to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley located south of the figure 6 map area. Prior to that time flood waters may have eroded the figure 6 map area and/or may have deposited sediments in the figure 6 map area. Headward erosion of the Frenchman Creek valley into the figure 6 map area captured the south and/or southeast-oriented flood water and more efficiently directed the flood flow to the newly eroded Republican River valley. The southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys, including the Sand Draw valley, eroded headward from the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley to more efficiently move flood waters to the Frenchman Creek valley. Sand Draw valley headward erosion was able to behead south and southeast oriented flood flow to what were then the actively eroding figure 6 southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys located west of Sand Draw. Subsequently Spring Creek valley headward erosion beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow to what was then the actively eroding Sand Draw valley.

Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 7 illustrates the Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 6 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 6. Imperial is the town located near the figure 7 west edge (north half). Frenchman Creek is the east-southeast oriented stream near the figure 7 south margin. Enders Reservoir is the lake impounded behind Enders Dam. Enders is the small town located north of the reservoir. Wauneta is the town located in the figure 7 southeast corner area. Spring Creek flows in a southeast-direction from the figure 7 north edge (west half) to join south-southeast oriented Stinking Water Creek near the Chase County-Hayes County border and the figure 7 east center edge. Note southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys in the figure 7 southeast quadrant. Also note shorter northeast, north, and northwest oriented Spring Creek tributary valleys, some of which are linked by shallow through valleys with the southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. The Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area east of Imperial has been streamlined by southeast-oriented flood flow. Flood waters at that time were flowing across a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 7 elevations today. The southeast-oriented flood waters were captured by Frenchman Creek valley headward erosion and then southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys eroded headward along what were probably southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Stinking Water Creek-Spring Creek valley next captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and beheaded the flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Spring Creek valley. Figures 8 and 9 below provide detained maps of the Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area.

Detailed map of Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area west

Figure 8: Detailed map of Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area west. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of a Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Spring Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 8 north center edge area to the figure 8 east edge. Note the northeast-oriented Spring Creek tributary in section 30 near the figure 8 north edge and how that tributary has northwest-oriented tributaries. Note also how those northwest-oriented tributaries are linked by a through valley to a large northwest-southeast oriented valley in sections 5 and 4. That valley is a northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the northwest-oriented Spring Creek tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. The through valley was eroded by southeast-oriented flood flow moving to what was then the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley could not occur until Spring Creek valley headward erosion reached the section 29 and 30 area. The northeast-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley, once it began to erode headward, began to behead the southeast-oriented flood flow channels and to divert flood waters to the newly eroded Spring Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest ends of the beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented tributary valleys. Note also the north-northwest and north oriented Spring Creek tributary in section 33 in the figure 8 east center area. That north-northwest oriented tributary is linked by a high level through valley with a southeast-oriented tributary valley in section 3 (figure 8 southeast corner) to a north-oriented Spring Creek tributary located just east of the figure 8 map area. Remember the Spring Creek valley eroded headward from the southeast to the northwest. The north-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley east of the figure 6 map area probably was eroded by reversed flood flow on the north ends of beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels as was the north-northwest tributary valley in section 33. Flood flow east of the figure 8 map area would have been beheaded and reversed before flood flow in the section 33 area was beheaded and reversed. Before flood flow in the section 33 area was beheaded and reversed that yet to be beheaded flood flow was captured by the newly reversed flood flow east of the figure 8 map area. Headward erosion of the Spring Creek valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow in the section 33 area to create the present day drainage divide between the two tributaries.

Detailed map of Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area east

Figure 9: Detailed map of Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area east. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 provides a detailed map of a Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area south and east of the figure 8 map area and an area seen in less detail in the figure 7 map area. Southeast-oriented Spring Creek can just barely be seen in the figure 9 northeast corner. Southeast-oriented valleys drain to east-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek located south of the figure 9 map area and north-oriented valleys drain to southeast-oriented Spring Creek. Note the northwest-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley originating in section 7 (figure 9 north center area) and how that tributary is linked by a northwest-southeast oriented through valley in section 18 with a south and southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valley in sections 18 and 17. Another northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking a north-oriented Spring Creek tributary valley with a south-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valley can be seen in section 11 in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. These northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow channels that once moved flood waters to what were then actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys prior to Spring Creek valley headward erosion. At that time flood waters flowed across the present day Spring Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide and the southeast-oriented Spring Creek valley north of the figure 9 map area did not yet exist. Spring Creek valley headward erosion followed closed after Frenchman Creek valley headward erosion and beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters to the actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on the north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Spring Creek valley. Figures 8 and 9 evidence suggests flood waters originally flowed across a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figures 8 and 9 elevations today. The highest figures 8 and 9 hills are more than 300 feet higher than the Frenchman Creek and Spring Creek valley floors, which provides a minimal measure of flood erosion that occurred. Comparable flood erosion probably took place throughout the South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area.

Stinking Water Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Stinking Water Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates the Stinking Water Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area located east and south of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Note the north-south oriented Chase County-Hayes County border located in the figure 10 west half. Wauneta is the town located just west of that county line (in the figure 10 southwest quadrant). Frenchman Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 10 west edge to Wauneta and then to the figure 10 southeast corner area. The town located near the figure 10 southeast corner is Palisade and the town located between Wauneta and Palisade is Hamlet. Southeast-oriented Spring Creek flows from the figure 10 northwest corner to join south-southeast oriented Stinking Water Creek in the figure 10 northwest quadrant (north of Wauneta and just west of the county line). From the county line area to the figure 10 southeast corner Stinking Water Creek flows in a southeast direction and joins Frenchman Creek near the figure 10 southeast corner. Blackwood Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 10 northeast corner area. The Frenchman Creek valley eroded headward across the figure 10 map area first to capture southeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the Stinking Water Creek valley followed closely after and beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley. South and east of figure 10 Frenchman Creek joins the east- and southeast-oriented Republican River (see figures 1 and 2). The Figure 10a below provides a detailed map of a Stinking Water Creek-Frenchman Creek  drainage divide area seen in less detail near the figure 10 center area. Note the shallow through valley in section 3 linking a north-northwest and northeast oriented Stinking Water Creek tributary valley with a south-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valley. Also note what may be a shallow through valley in section 29 linking a north-northwest oriented Stinking Water Creek tributary valley with a south-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valley. Even if there is no through valley the two opposing tributary valleys are eroded on the same north-northwest to south-southeast oriented alignment. The shallow through valleys and the similarity of alignments of the opposing tributary valleys provides evidence headward erosion of the Stinking Water Creek valley beheaded south-southeast oriented flood flow channels moving flood water to what were then the actively eroding Frenchman Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes then reversed flow direction to erode the north-northwest oriented Stinking Water Creek tributary valley segments.

Figure 10a: Detailed map of Stinking Water Creek-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Additional information and sources of maps

This essay has only provided a sample of the drainage divide evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” geomorphology paradigm. Many additional examples could be provided, especially by using more detailed topographic maps. Readers are encouraged to look at mosaics of detailed topographic maps to see the abundance of supporting data. Maps used in this study were created by the United States Geological Survey and can be purchased in hard copy from the United States Geological Survey or from dealers offering United States Geological Survey maps. Hard copy maps can also be observed at United States Geological Survey map depositories located in major research libraries and elsewhere throughout the United States and in other countries. Illustrations used in this essay were created using National Geographic Society TOPO software and digital data. National Geographic Society digital maps can be purchased from the National Geographic Society or from dealers offering National Geographic Society digital maps.

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